November 11

November 11
by Gabe Tseng
And when Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, begging Him, and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, terribly tormented.” Jesus *said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” Now when Jesus heard this, He was amazed and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel. And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom will be thrown out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And Jesus said to the centurion, “Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment. – Matthew 8:5-13
 
Happy Veteran’s Day and we are grateful for the sacrifice of those who fought and given much of themselves. Many have given their very lives for the benefit of others in which they are given little fanfare or honor. “Many big tough soldiers cry out to God when they first hear automatic gun fire”- St. Tim’s Veteran
 
We find a story in which a Centurion with men under his care, comes to Jesus with concern for one of his servants. This is not the astounding part, although it is amazing that a Centurion with such authority has concern for a lowly servant. The amazing aspect that Jesus highlights is that the Centurion recognizes the authority of Jesus to do such things. He likens Jesus to a commander that can heal and do whatever He wishes. He seems to know this, and this astounds Jesus. He believes in His power, His authority, and also His willingness and compassion to heal. 
 
This is in contrast to the contrasting contexts of the Pharisees “seeing but not believing.” Even the demons recognize and submit themselves to Jesus, but not the Pharisees.  
 
There is a deeply personal aspect to the Centurion’s ask from Jesus. He most likely knows his servant, cares enough to value lowering himself humbly to Jesus’ mercy. Trusts enough in Jesus’ goodness to look not to his own honor or gain but towards others. The Centurion does not ask Jesus to come to him, but rather approaches Jesus in humility and vulnerability, with the possibility of rejection. He knows what it means to serve, and to give the ultimate sacrifice for the benefit of others. He’s a veteran. 
 
Jesus honors the Centurion by healing his servant, but also honoring him in a different way. He credits him with “great faith” in which only one other moment Jesus gives credit and honor in such a way. He doesn’t see this in Israel, but in those NOT of Israel. In the Centurion, Jesus’ meets someone who exemplifies the likeness of who Jesus is- someone who is great, but became low. To give all that he has in reputation and in life, for the sake of the lowly. A man of war, well acquainted with suffering, to become the suffering servant for our sake. 
 
A fitting passage for a fitting day, to honor those who reflect to us what sacrifice looks like, not only in the life they gave, but also the parts of themselves that they will not get back. We honor those who would not seek honor for themselves. It’s but one day for many who have given much more. We don’t live in guilt, but with great gratitude to them, and ultimately, Christ the King who gave his very life in much the same way. 

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